Patterns are a valuable tool in the architect's toolkit. They allow the architect to reuse a solution or part of a solution that has been proven successful and apply it in the context of their own problem. The use of architecture Patterns is in its infancy and has its origins with Christopher Alexander (a building architect) who wrote a seminal book entitled A Pattern Language. Much of the use of Patterns in the information technology industry has been at a software engineering level but interest in them in starting to increase at an architecture level. Patterns can be created and used at any level from a team level right up to industry and cross industry foundation architectures and they can be used for any recurring idea from business level diagrams down to technology architecture.
Enterprise Architect supports the mining, identification, creation, and use of Patterns at any level. Existing architectures can be viewed and diagrams that an architect identifies as being worthy of Pattern status can be saved as a Pattern. A description of the Pattern can be included to assist others who are using the Pattern to understand its purpose and how it should be applied. Patterns developed by other architects, organizations, industries or groups can be imported into the Resources window.
This section lists the main tools available in Enterprise Architect that can be used to perform Pattern Analysis. There are also many additional tools that a modeler might find suitable when applying the technique in a particular context. The complete list of tools is available from the topics: Meet the Enterprise Architecture Tools and Additional Enterprise Architecture Tools.
The Model Search facility can be used to find a set of elements that meet a particular set of criteria. This is useful when searching for elements in diagrams that could form the basis of a Pattern. A modeler can use a built-in search but would more typically devise their own search using the powerful Query Builder or, if required, the SQL Editor or an Add-in Search. When the search is run a list of elements is returned that meet the conditions and parameters defined in the search. The search can be saved and run again at any time. The elements returned in the search can be located in the Project Browser and in diagrams, and also generated to documentation.
Learn More: Model Search
Patterns are a productivity and architecture tool for creating reusable fragments of an architecture. Any diagram can be published as a Pattern and then stored in the Resources window. This is the perfect mechanism for the reuse of architectures and including problem or opportunity definitions and solutions or parts of solutions. Existing architectures and completed projects can be mined for reusable diagrams and ideas and these can then exported as Patterns including annotations that describe the Pattern's motivation, intent, applicability and more.
Learn More: Patterns